Target 8 Project summary

What is the PlantNetwork Target 8 Project ?

the project is in response to Target 8 of Plant Diversity Challenge, linking in situ and ex situ conservation. The plan is to use member gardens to grow the threatened plants of Britain and Ireland ex situ and to link them to conservation work in situ.

What are its objectives ?

  • To build horticultural expertise and knowledge in the growing of our native flora
  • To involve member gardens in practical in situ conservation partnerships
  • To collect the germination and cultivation protocols into a database
  • To raise public awareness about our threatened flora

How can my garden get involved ?

  1. Ask the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC – for a free copy of Plant Diversity Challenge: the UK’s response to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, or download it from here.
  2. Read the details of the PlantNetwork project on the next webpage (Target 8 Project details).
  3. Look at the table of threatened taxa (Target 8 Project Species List) and choose one or two that you would like to grow. You could, for example, choose species that occur in the wild in your region. This will not only make it easier to set up partnerships with those working on in situ conservation of the species, but will also provide greater focus to your public awareness and education programme.
    • Don’t choose too many to start with, or you won’t have time to carry out all the later stages of the project for every species.
    • Click on T8 in the column of the Species List to see the data sheet, which gives information on distribution, and other relevant information.
    • If you need help in choosing which species to grow, take a look at the suggestions list, or contact Matthew Jebb (matthew.jebb at
  4. Let us know which species you have chosen (matthew.jebb at or a.d.hood at The name of your garden will be entered on the table next to your chosen species, and we will send you a package of instructions and information to help you with the next stages of the project.
  5. DO NOT attempt to obtain seeds or propagules of your chosen species from the wild. The species on the list are already threatened with extinction, and most are protected by law. The Millennium Seed Bank has offered assistance in providing pre-germinated seedlings for the project, and you should contact Matthew Jebb or Alisdair Hood with your requests and for advice.
  6. Find out as much as you can about your chosen species. Look on the web, at species action plans, at Plantlife species dossiers and in conservation journals – there is a list of useful links on our Plant Conservation on the Web page.
  7. Set up a system for recording as much information as you can about the origin, treatment and characteristics of your adopted species. Details about what to record (View the datafields here) as well as a downloadable spreadsheet (Download the spreadsheet here) will enable you to submit the data to us for entry in our Cultivation and Propagation Database.
  8. It is important to experiment with different germination and propagation techniques, and with different growing media. The aim is to find out the optimum conditions for the plant’s growth, flowering and fruiting. It is important to build up expertise and knowledge in cultivating the taxa you have selected.
  9. Contact all those who are studying the species and trying to conserve it in situ. Tell them you are growing it in cultivation, and offer the facilities and expertise available in your garden to support their work. Explain the purpose of the PlantNetwork project and the Cultivation and Propagation Database.
  10. A major function of the project is to raise Public and Political awareness about our native flora and the need for its conservation. Tell the public and your local biodiversity partnership about the project and how your garden is contributing. We are developing a set of generic information panels that you can use as interpretative panels. You could feature your plants in your newsletters or Friends’ magazines, or to mark International Biodiversity Day, held on 22 May every year. Use your plants to tell the public about the flora of Britain and Ireland, the threats it faces and what’s being done to conserve threatened species. Take photographs of the species in cultivation and, if possible, in the wild.
  11. We will continue to report progress on the project in the PlantNetwork Newsletter and at national and international conferences, as well as to the JNCC, in 2008 and 2010.
  12. The target date of 2010 was adopted by the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation for many of its targets including Target 8. We aim to try and have all the taxa listed on the Project Species List in cultivation by this date. We depend on as many gardens as possible in Britain and Ireland assisting if we are to achieve this.
    By adopting just one, or two taxa, at your garden, you will be making a real difference for plant conservation in these islands.